Prosecutor Mark Sleeper stormed out of an Ohio courtroom on Thursday after exchanging words with the judge and finally accusing him of turning the trial into a “sham.”
Sleeper and his colleague Melissa Schiffel are representing the state in the Delaware County, Ohio, trial of Matheau Moore — who is accused of murdering his late wife, Emily Noble, and attempting to stage it to look like a suicide.
Moore has repeatedly claimed that he is innocent, telling detectives during the investigation, “Guys, I did not hurt my wife. I did not hurt my wife. I loved her. I know I did not hurt her, I didn’t do anything. So the only other thing I can think of is that she did something to herself.”
Police noted that at the time, when Noble was still considered “missing,” Moore had used the past tense to talk about her. She was later found hanging in the woods near her home — but because of her injuries, investigators ruled her death a homicide. Moore faces life in prison if convicted.
On Thursday, as the trial entered its 7th day, Sleeper took issue with the fact that Judge Stephen Wolaver wanted to proceed with the case regardless of Schiffel’s absence — despite the fact that all parties had previously been made aware that she would not be available on Thursday.
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) August 25, 2022
The conflict began when Sleeper raised his objection, saying that the case should not move forward until Schiffel had returned to the courtroom.
“She chose not to be here,” the judge replied — at which point the exchange began to heat up.
“That’s not accurate!” Sleeper objected, going on to remind the judge that Schiffel had informed the court some two weeks earlier that she would not be available that day.
Wolaver stood his ground, however, noting the objection and moving forward — but Sleeper continued.
“I’m not going to participate in this proceeding,” Sleeper said then, adding, “This is a sham that this is going forward!”
He went on to claim that not only had the judge been aware of the scheduling conflict, but that he had apparently informed Schiffel that it would not be an issue.
“You were told about her unavailability, and you specifically told her on the phone not to cancel that appointment, that it wouldn’t be a problem,” Sleeper said.
“If you don’t want to be here for the decision, that’s your business,” Wolaver said, not budging an inch.
“I think this is outrageous you’re going forward without the prosecutor,” Sleeper shot back, at which point he turned and exited the courtroom.